“Political ads are flooding Hulu, Roku and other streaming services, revealing loopholes in federal election laws”

…ad that interrupted some Hulu subscribers as they watched the NBC comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” this month opened with a clip of President Trump speaking. “The ‘deep state’ is trying to inject our health system with socialist price controls,” a narrator then interjected, before a banner flashed at the bottom of the screen: “TEXT ‘SOCIALISM SUCKS’ TO 41490.” But neither FreedomWorks, the conservative group behind the ad, nor Hulu, a television-and-m…

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New DOJ Indictment Alleges Millions of Dollars in Foreign Money Illegally Funneled to Support Hillary Clinton in 2016

…using false records to be filed, and one count of obstruction of a federal grand jury investigation. Nader is charged with conspiring with Khawaja to make conduit campaign contributions, and related offenses. Boulos, Dekermenjian, Diab, El-Saadi, Hill, and Whipple are charged with conspiring with Khawaja and each other to make conduit campaign contributions and conceal excessive contributions, and related offenses. According to the indictment, fro…

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“Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation”

…m, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as…

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“Deregulating Corruption”

…light of the Supreme Court’s lax definition of corruption. In some cases, jury convictions have been set aside for politicians who cite the Supreme Court’s latest campaign finance and white-collar crime cases, especially Citizens United v. FEC and McDonnell v. United States. This Article explores what the Supreme Court has done to rebrand corruption, as well as how this impacts the criminal prosecutions of corrupt elected officials. This Article…

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“Republicans sue to block Michigan redistricting commission”

…The federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning with the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, seeks to invalidate Proposal 2, block implementation and prevent the independent commission from drawing new legislative and congressional district maps for the 2022 election cycle. Instead, whichever political party wins control of the state Legislature next year would lead that process in 2021. Republicans drew existing lines in 2011 and currently hold…

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Sam Issacharoff: When Constraint Fails (Rucho Symposium)

…ality of congressional review of the constitutionality of state law in his grand design, a central feature that he introduced again and again at the convention, and always lost – except oddly in this one area.  The key to Madison’s design here was the indifference of the national legislature to local battles and hence the desire to protect the national institution against anything sounding in local political capture.  But Madison’s const…

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Fred Gray: Lawyer for Rosa Parks, MLK Jr., Dr. Gomillion

…erjury, regarding his tax filings — Fred managed to get an all-white jury to find King not guilty. And he was the winning lawyer in the famous Gomillion v. Lightfoot case. I got to know Fred in the 1990s, when I was in Alabama working on an article on cumulative voting. Fred was a central figure in the Alabama Democratic Conference, the organization formed right after Gomillion to protect minority voting rights in Alabama. I then had had the…

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“Federal subpoena demands records on Andrew Gillum and his campaign for governor”

…mpa Bay Times: Andrew Gillum is a focal point of a recently issued federal grand jury subpoena that demands information on the former Democratic candidate for governor, his campaign, his political committee, a wealthy donor, a charity he worked for and a former employer. The subpoena, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times and previously unreported, could reflect a new level of federal inquiry into Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee who narrowly los…

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“Feds open foreign-money investigation into Trump donor Cindy Yang”

…violations, the Miami Herald has learned. Investigators obtained a federal grand jury subpoena Tuesday seeking records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who last year contributed a maximum $5,400 to President Donald Trump’s re-election effort, according to a source familiar with the probe. Yang came to Peranio’s workplace and helped her write the check, Peranio told reporters from The New York Times, who first rep…

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“It is wrong to say ‘no collusion'”

…ponent was illegal. Notably, Mueller had never called Trump Jr. before the grand jury to press him on his knowledge of the law. Establishing willfulness is only necessary for criminal campaign finance violations. For the Federal Election Commission to seek civil penalties, it simply needs to find that Trump Jr. solicited a contribution from a person he knew was a foreign national. As the July 2017 federal complaint by the Campaign Legal Center, fi…

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“The Mueller Report Makes It Clear: Trump Is Off the Hook in SDNY as Well”

…out reporting it. And just as Mueller’s team did not call Trump Jr. to the grand jury, it did not get to personally interview the president or get him before the grand jury. It relied on written answers from Trump, vetted through his lawyers. So it may be very hard to prove willfulness without getting more from the president himself. And as with the foreign opposition research case against Trump Jr., the hush money payments case against Cohen—and…

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“Galveston County registrar refers ‘non-citizens’ for voter fraud investigation”

…ttorney Jack Roady weeks after reviewing her office’s policy on processing jury summons lists that indicate a voter might not be a U.S. citizen. Johnson, who doubles as county registrar overseeing the county’s voter rolls, will now use a person’s voluntary declaration that they are a non-citizen on a jury summons exemption as a precursor for possible criminal investigation for voter fraud. The policy revision, dated March 12, states that if a pote…

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“NC GOP Chairman, Durham Businessman And Others Indicted On Fraud, Bribery Charges”

…ons made to the state Republican Party. Hayes, a former five-term North Carolina congressman, surrendered himself to authorities and appeared in Charlotte’s federal court Tuesday, the same day the federal grand jury’s indictment was unsealed. Hayes and three others were indicted on charges related to fraud and attempting to bribe North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey….

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“Citizen grand jury disbands in Kobach case without returning indictment”

…r reviewing the citizen petition, exhibits and testimony of witnesses, the grand jury found “no cognizable crime under the laws of the State of Kansas,” said the document, obtained Wednesday by the Journal-World.Otherwise, as with any type of grand jury, the panel’s proceedings were secret and closed to the public, from jury selection to investigative actions it may have taken. Steven Davis, the Lawrence resident who petitioned to convene the gran…

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“Federal investigators issue subpoenas in NC-9 investigation”

WBTV: The Department of Justice has issued subpoenas for a federal grand jury investigation into allegations of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. The US Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section has issued at least three subpoenas for documents related to the 9th District. The subpoenas come less than a month after the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election in the 9th…

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“North Carolina political operative indicted in election fraud case that upended congressional race”

…n in North Carolina tainted by evidence of ballot fraud, was indicted by a grand jury on seven counts, a prosecutor announced Wednesday. Dowless, who worked for Mark Harris, the Republican nominee in the state’s 9th Congressional District, was arrested and charged with three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two counts of possession of absentee ballot, the Wake County distric…

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“Wake DA: Criminal prosecution anticipated in District 9 case “

…istrict Attorney Lorrin Freeman says she expects to take the case before a grand jury in the next month.Freeman said that case largely focuses on the 2016 general and 2018 primary elections, knowing the state was conducting its own investigation into the 2018 general election.“I think it is fair to say at this point that a criminal prosecution should be anticipated,” said Freeman in an interview with CBS17. “It has taken time. It is detailed work….

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“North Carolina elections officials will give U.S. attorney vastly fewer records than he sought in voter probe”

WaPo: Six months after a grand jury demanded millions of North Carolina voting records, state officials have announced they will release fewer than 800 voter files — a potentially significant setback for a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney who has targeted noncitizen voting as one of his top priorities. The state Board of Elections last week instructed 44 county election offices that received wide-ranging subpoenas for millions of voting records in…

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Gerry Hebert on von Spakovsky and Adams: “Setting the Record Straight”

…OJ supervisors.The suit was tried before a single district judge without a jury. He ruled against the Department on grounds of both discriminatory purpose and effect. The judge found that the voters had indeed voted in the wrong district, as we had alleged, but he agreed with county officials that their actions were just mistakes and did not violate federal law. DOJ appealed (I had left DOJ by the time it appealed) and the court of appeals affirme…

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“Justices to Hear Civil Rights Challenge in Ballot Prosecution”

…f a former Democratic county commissioner from New York State who was acquitted of forging absentee ballots during a 2009 primary election. Edward G. McDonough says the special prosecutor falsified evidence during the pre-trial investigation, grand jury proceedings, and at trial in an attempt to convict him of dozens of state law felony crimes related to the forged absentee ballots. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found McDono…

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George T. Conway III , Trevor Potter and Neal Katyal: “Trump’s claim that he didn’t violate campaign finance law is weak — and dangerous”

…yments were made, at least in part, for campaign purposes. As for what the jury concluded in the Edwards case, there’s good reason to believe that the evidence in a criminal case against Trump would be much stronger. … The bad arguments being floated in Trump’s defense are emblematic of a deterioration in respect for the rule of law in this country. The three of us have deep political differences, but we are united in the view that our count…

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John Edwards, Donald Trump, and the Criminalization of Politics

…but it looks like there is plenty of evidence there to give the issue to a jury. The timing of the Daniels payment is particularly damning in proving this was campaign related and not primarily about helping Trump’s personal life. Cohen and Trump refused to pay off Stormy Daniels until October 25, 2016, just before the election and after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, when Daniels had threatened to give an interview…

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“Prosecutors Effectively Accuse Trump of Defrauding Voters. What Does It Mean?”

…hen President Richard M. Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury investigating the cover-up of the break-in at the Democratic headquarters. “While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” the prosecutors wrote. “He did so by orchestrating se…

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Blockbuster Must-Read from BuzzFeed: “Inside The North Carolina Republican Vote Machine: Cash, Pills — And Ballots”

…ere times when she did not quite understand what she was doing or what the grand purpose was. She did, though, say that campaign workers delivered sealed absentee ballots from the homes of people who requested them to McCrae Dowless’s office — though North Carolina law forbids third parties from handling those ballots. She said she spent her time tracking the number of ballots sent in to the county board of elections — and then tally up the number…

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Recap of Symposium on Legislative Reform of the Electoral Process

…#8217;s time to consider some unfamiliar suggestions for election reform A Grand Election Bargain That Everyone Should Support Dan Tokaji | 11/20/18 Congress should reform voter registration while imposing reasonable voter identification requirements in federal elections Four Priorities for H.R. 1 Campaign Legal Center | 11/21/18 Here are the highest priorities for legislative reform on campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting, and ethics Pe…

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Levitt: Performance Standards and Design Standards in New Election Legislation

…nch warfare seems more likely than meaningful compromise — even meaningful grand compromise. So while I’d be delighted to be wrong, I agree with Rick that I’m really joining a series of posts about a messaging bill. In most arenas, a messaging bill comes with few legal implications. It’s an expression of priorities that amounts to little more than a holiday wish list for things we don’t currently have, and a minimal precommitment by legislators to…

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Tokaji: A Grand Election Bargain That Everyone Should Support

…rifying their identity and place of residence (if any) under penalty of perjury. Those ballots would be counted unless there is contrary evidence. Most important, a federal voter ID law would not just serve as a floor that all voters must meet; it would also be a ceiling, precluding more stringent voter ID requirements in federal elections. If Democrats were to propose a Grand Election Bargain of voter registration reform for reasonable voter iden…

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Brad Smith Also Rejects Claim That Fundraising Against Collins Should She Vote for Kavanaugh is Bribery, But He Has Another Concern

…corrupt offer of “anything of value”? I’m guessing probably yes. Whether a jury would convict is another question. Smith does raise another concern, which I had not focused on before: Then there is the Maine People’s Alliance, which is also an incorporated entity. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, the group can spend money urging votes for or against a candidate. But it is still prohibited by la…

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“Justice Dept. Demands Millions of North Carolina Voter Records, Confounding Elections Officials”

…iscredited claims of widespread voting by illegal immigrants. The unsealed grand jury subpoenas were sent to the state elections board and to 44 county elections boards in eastern North Carolina. Their existence became widely known after Marc E. Elias, a voting rights lawyer aligned with the Democratic Party, mentioned them on Twitter. Though the nature, scope and impetus of the federal investigation that generated the subpoenas remain shrouded in…

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“Kansas court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach”

…AP: A grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled. The court’s one-page opinion was released Friday and offered no explanation behind the ruling, which addressed Kobach’s appeal of a lower court’s order to summon the grand jury, the Lawrence Journal-World reported ….

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“Father of Alison Lundergan Grimes indicted in campaign finance conspiracy”

…em to bill S.R. Holding Co. for work they did for his daughter’s campaign. The company paid those bills and then allegedly did not seek reimbursement from Grimes’ campaign. After a grand jury subpoenaed records from Lundergan in 2016, the company still only sought partial reimbursement, according to the indictment….

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“Accusations of Voter Fraud Can Hurt Republicans, Too”

…ns prosecuted for voting in two states where they owned houses. At a trial earlier this year, Kobach’s claims of spectacular voter fraud were reduced to this: In a state where 1.8 million voters have cast millions of votes over the past 18 years, the grand total of noncitizen voters amounted to … 11. Likewise, Kobach’s leadership role in President Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission blew up when the commission was disbanded without producing any…

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Kobach Hands Kansas Governor Recall Responsibilities to His Deputy, Who Has Donated to His Campaign, and Not to Election Professional

…of “reverse religious discrimination,” and described Rucker as telling her grandmother that she had been fired because the staffer was a diversion, mean and didn’t go to church, with Rucker placing a particular emphasis on church as a factor. The jury rejected the employee’s claim, though the trial provoked further scrutiny of Rucker’s work within the office. Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said he had assumed that Kobach would turn over his resp…

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“Election Commission Documents Cast Doubt on Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud”

…ime the original letter was sent, Kobach and members of the Office of the Vice President had drafted and finalized a letter to send to federal clerks’ offices requesting information on “all individuals determined to be ineligible or who were otherwise excused from federal jury duty” because they had died, moved out of the jurisdiction, had a felony conviction, or were not U.S. citizens. They specifically requested the names of the individuals and…

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“Indicted Russian Company Uses Trump’s Supreme Court Pick as Get Out of Jail Free Card”

…and Consulting—was one of the 16 people or entities indicted by a federal grand jury in February at as part of the special counsel’s investigation. On Monday, the company argued, “that it had broken no federal laws, that it was merely supporting free political speech and that the fraud charge against it should be thrown out.” In its motion to dismiss, Concord specifically cited Judge Kavanaugh’s Bluman v. FEC decision regarding the ban on foreign…

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“Indicted Russian firm says it was backing free political speech, not disrupting 2016 election”

…lting was one of 16 Russian individuals or companies indicted by a federal grand jury in February at the behest of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. The company is accused of defrauding the government by failing to register as foreign agents and failing to report its election-related expenditures to the U.S. government. A large campaign of “information warfare against the United States,” led by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agenc…

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“New York Judge Declares a Mistrial in Ex-County Executive’s Bribery Case”

…WSJ: A Long Island judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of Edward Mangano, the former Nassau County executive accused of public-corruption crimes, after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Federal prosecutors said they would retry the case, which had offered a window into what they had called the county’s pay-to-play culture….

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“Ex-FBI honcho blasts Trump over Blagojevich”

…dent of the United States would overturn the evidence heard by a judge and jury, all out of an animus toward Bob Mueller, James Comey and [former U.S. Attorney] Pat Fitzgerald,” said Grant, who is now retired from the FBI. “Blagojevich got caught by wiretaps and microphones and he was engaging in a practice that we believed he was taking part in for quite awhile … I don’t think anybody who listened to those tapes would think anything but it was an…

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“FEC Deadlocks on Probing Pro-Rubio Super PAC Money”

…ting news reports, said the money should have been reported as coming from Brooklyn investor Andrew Duncan. The commission’s 2-2, party-line vote on whether to pursue enforcement action resulted in dismissal of the matter. The vote was announced today…. In an open commission meeting May 24, Weintraub proposed to begin writing new disclosure rules covering LLCs and other mechanisms that can conceal donors. She said those could be used t…

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“Mexican national indicted for illegal voting in Harris County”

…was arrested Friday in Houston after being indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on two charges of illegally voting in Harris County after allegedly stealing the identity of a U.S. citizen and using the information to register to vote….. Garza allegedly obtained documents to steal the identity of a U.S. citizen and illegally registered to vote in Harris County, according to a joint investigation by Paxton’s office and the Texas Departme…

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“Sheldon Silver Is Convicted in 2nd Corruption Trial”

…n upper hand: The original verdict was only thrown out because the judge’s jury instructions were too broad, as defined by the Supreme Court decision. The retrial in Federal District Court in Manhattan seemed to move at double speed: Instead of stretching over one month, as the first trial had, the second trial was completed in two weeks, as prosecutors quickly made their case that Mr. Silver, 74, had obtained the illicit payments. In return, pros…

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“Donald Trump, John Edwards, and the Mistress Loophole; Maybe Rudy Giuliani knows what he’s doing after all.”

…ns. Prosecutors attempted to surmount this legal argument by showering the jury with facts and inferences indicating that one purpose of the payments was to influence the election. But they lacked “smoking guns”: strongly corroborated witnesses, thoroughly incriminating recorded conversations and documents, self-damning testimony from the principals (Neither donor appeared—one had died and the other, a 101-year-old, was excused—and Edwards decline…

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